Does Robert Kraft Regret Tom Brady’s Departure After Patriots’ Down Year?

'But in life, things just happen in a way that you have to balance a lot of things'

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Patriots owner Robert Kraft wanted Tom Brady to retire not having played a game for anyone other than New England.

He’s admitted that on numerous occasions, and has been forthright in his feelings for the 43-year-old quarterback both as a player and member of his inner circle.

But now that Kraft has watched Brady win a Super Bowl in his first season the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, all while simultaneously seeing the Patriots nosedive into a 7-9 campaign, does he regret the decision?

“Look, I would have loved for him to have retired as a Patriot. Everybody knew that,” Kraft said on a conference call with reporters Wednesday. “But in life, things just happen in a way that you have to balance a lot of things. After 20 years, I thought he was entitled to make a decision that was, what he thought, was best for him in where he was at. And, you know, we gave him the ability to do that.

“It’s like marriage is sometimes,” Kraft continued, “no one knows on the outside everything going on and you try to balance a lot. And, you know, it is what it is.”

Kraft did note how contract-wise the Patriots could have kept Brady (whether it was via the franchise tag, etc.), but he didn’t think it was appropriate after their longstanding relationship. That doesn’t seem to be something he regrets, either.

“Well, after 20 years with any player, I’ll make this commitment to any player in the future, anyone who spends 20 years with us and helps us win six Super Bowls we’re not going to keep — look, we could have contract-wise kept him in our camp, but its just not the right thing,” Kraft said. “Naturally, we want to win, but who knows what would have happened if he stayed here? You know, look what happened at the end of his last season here.”

Among a handful of topics — free-agent spending, New England’s draft success, etc. — Kraft noted how figuring out the team’s next quarterback in the post-Brady era is among the most prevalent of concerns.

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